tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 6, 2014 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
although there are never any guarantees, victims live with the frightening uncertainty of whether the stealth stalking apps are really gone or if they will reappear after removal. privacy and peace of mind continue to be violated by this uncertainty often long after they have bought new phones or changed passwords. i worked with a victim who suspected that her estranged boyfriend put spyware on her phone. she stated he knew about private phone conversations and text messages and he would show up randomly where she was. i examined her phone and couldn't determine if there was any spyware. later, i found her computer had accessed a stalking program. there was then proof that the program was installed on her phone. i worked with her on the expensive and complicated task of getting a new phone and e-mail account on a safe computer.
proliferation of chaef cheaper stalking apps made these harrowing experiences much more common. in the last three years, our mobile forensic exams in our office have increased by 220% in three years, averaging 30 exams per month. after seven years of experience, i continue to discover new apps. for instance, we are investigating an attempted murder in the context of domestic violence. we discovered t-spy running in self mode on the mobile device. t-spy advertises itself as a $7 parental monitoring software which can be installed on smartphones to track text messages, calls, gps location and basically any phone data. as in the case of discovering t-spy, i become engaged in a forensic investigation after victims detect signs of digital wrong doing. they notice patterns that the abuser's knowledge of the victim's life and whereabouts
when the abuser has no way of knowing. while my department deals with only felony cases, stalking apps are frequently used in misdemeanor domestic violence cases. investigating is labor intensive and requires specialized, expensive equipment. most law enforcement agencies do not have the resources, equipment, staffing or training to examine mobile devices for stalking apps, which can limit data recovery for potential evidence. we are fortunate to have eight different tools and dedicated staff for mobile examinations. because of our resources, other counties and agencies request our assistance. in a survey by the minnesota coalition for battered women in conjunction with the court for battered women, advocates indicated cyber stalking was the number one priority. because technology is frequently used to stalk victims and violate protective orders. to address the need for training on cyber stalking, i have worked
with the minnesota coalition for battered women and its 80 plus member programs to train over 3,000 domestic and sexual violence advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors and judges since 2009. our efforts have bourn fruit but strained resources and lack of awareness undercut law enforcement's abilities of cyber stalking. this erodes victim's trust in the criminal justice system. a common abuser tactic is to convince the victim she's crazy. victims then feel more crazy when they report the abuser has installed self-stalking apps only to be told we don't believe you or we don't have the resources to examine your phone. when law enforcement can't identify and respond to cyber stalking reports, victims stop reporting crimes and abusers win. this act is a major step in addressing the stalking app problem. the most important part is that
app also be required to notify the user a second time. 24 hours to 7 days after an initial installation about the tracking implications. victims will be notified when the perpetrator doesn't have access to their phone. if this notice only applied to stalking apps they would simply change the name or market it in a different way. in human trafficking, when craigslist no longer allows certain ads, the company backpages.com emerged and now runs those ads. by banning stealth gps stalking apps, we make it unprofitable for the companies to make these programs which decreases access to them. additionally, the act brings public awareness by requiring information gathering, reporting and training grants for law enforcement. finally, the act supports victim safety by requiring all apps share location, making sure a stalking app can't disguise itself as a family tracking app
or as a flashlight app. i urge you to support in act. thank you again to the committee for reviewing my testimony and for your support of law enforcement efforts to keep domestic violence victims and our communities safe. >> thank you, detective hill. mr. mastria? >> chairman franken, members of the subcommittee, good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to speak at this hearing. i'm the executive director of the digital advertising alliance and pleased to report on how industry has extended its successful online program to mobile to ensure consumers have access to the same transparency control in mobile as they do on desk top. of particular interest to this committee today are mobile principles require consent for collection of data and an easy
to use tool to withdraw such consent, leaving the consumer in charge. last year, the d.a. released its mobile guidance. this important self-initiated update to our principles reflects the market reality that brands and customers engage with each other on a variety of screens. the daa is a cross the industry non profit organization founding by the leading advertising and market trade organizations. these organizations originally came together in 2008 to develop self-regulatory principles to cover the collection and use of web viewing data. in 2012, the obama administration publicly praised the program as a model success. and more recently, commissioner olhaasen was quoted as calling it one of the great success stories in the privacy space. the internet is a tremendous engine of economic growth.
supporting employment of nearly 5 million americans. mobile advertising in the u.s. totals more than $7 billion last year, more than 100% increase from the year prior. revenue from online and mobile advertising subsidized the contents and services we all enjoy. research shows that advertisers pay several times more, general -- for relevant ads and as a result this supports greater revenue to support more free content. simply stated, companies have a very vested interest in get thing right. self-regulation like the daa is the ideal way to address the interplay of privacy in online and mobile trizin iadvertising preserving innovation. it provides the industry, as demonstrated by the mobile updates to our program, with a nimble way of responding to new market challenges presented by a
this advancement builds on the unprecedented level of industry cooperation, which has led the daa icon being served globally more than a trillion times each month. in the coming months, daa will release a new mobile choice app, which will empower consumers to make choices about data collection through mobile devices, including application. of particular relevance to this hearing and today, cyber stalking is a serious issue as was detailed earlier. but criminal activity is separate and apart from the commercial uses covered by daa. i want to note daa's stringent requirements for the collection and use of precise location data for commercial purposes. the program requires consent prior to collection and the provision of an easy-to-use tool to withdraw such consent. we have required privacy friendly tools, including notice in the down load process, notice at first install or other measures to ensure that
companies are transparent in a consistent matter about data collection and consumers can make informed choices. to ensure that both the mechanisms we require are used and the consumer choices are honored, we rely on our accountability programs. accountability is a key feature of the daa program. all of the principles are backed by the robust enforce programs associate ed by the better business bureau and the direct marketing association. in summary, i would submit that the daa is a story of empowering consumers through transparency and control. it has adapted consumer controls to meet quickly evolving market changes and consumer preferences and done so while responsibly supporting the investment necessary to fund lower cost products and services desired by consumers. i'm pleased to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you, mr. mastria. ms. greenberg?
>> good afternoon chairman frank and members of the subcommittee. i'm sally greenberg, executive director of the national consumers league. the league was founded in 1899 and is the nation's pioneering consumer organization. our nonprofit mission is to advocate on behalf of consumers and workers in the united states and abroad. the supreme court justice who served as the general counsel, note t in a landmark 1928 decision the right to privacy is the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. we could not agree more. privacy is a corner stone of consumer protection and a fundamental human right. fundamental human right. the ubiquity of smartphones and other mobile devices has changed the way consumers interact with the digital world. thanks to the widespread use of location data, consumers can navigate to their favorite coffee shops and be more easily located by emergency response
providers. this technology has provided immense consumer benefits. however as collection and use of location data has become integran integral part of the mobile eco system, so too has consumer concern over the use and misuse of these data. according to a consumer reports poll from 2012, 65% of consumers were very concerned that smartphone apps could access their personal content, data and location without their permission. a similar poll showed that 82% of those surveyed were very or somewhat concerned about the internet and smartphone firms collecting their information. this should not be surprising. up like location data gained from a nonmobile device such as a desk top computer, data from mobile phones is inherently personal and can be used to learn and possibly disclose information that in many cases consumers would rather be kept
private. justice sotomayor summed this in her opinion in u.s. versus jones. trips to the psychiatrist, the abortion clinic, the strip club, the criminal defense, the by the hour motel, the union meeting, the mosque, the synagogue the church, the gay bar and on and on. this consent amok consumer and privacy advocates and consumer and government agencies such as the gao and ftc we just heard from a moment ago is that there is no adequate legal frame works protecting location data in the current and ever evolving mobile ecosystem. absent such a frame work, consumers must rely on business to adhere to a variety of often voluntary and inconsistently applied company policy s
and industry practices. that is why we believe so strongly that this bill is absolutely necessary and it will help to protect especially sensitive types of information that consumers use such as location data. s-2171 would do just that, this bill could establish a level playing field of businesses that seek to collect and share location data and help to restore consumer trust and ensure that the benefits of this technology continue to flow to consumers and the economy and protecting location privacy. in particular, we believe that the bill's provisions will allow consumers to take control over their private location information, giving them the right to choose to share that information or not, and be informed how their location data will be used and by whom. and by prohibiting so-called stalking apps we have heard about, the law will appropriately outlaw a class of inherently predatory
applications that can compromise personal safety of domestic violence victims. no federal law prohibits these apps. in addition, we believe that the section providing for private rights of action are critical. given the limited resources of federal enforcement agencies, a nor rowly defined private right of action with caps on available damages, gives extra protection to consumers while addressing industry concerns about abuses of that private right of action. in closing, i would like to reiterate the strong support for s-2171. consumers expect and deserve the privacy of their location will be protected. absent such protections, it would will harmful to invocation and the economy as a whole. thank you on behalf of the national consumers league and
america's consumers for your leadership in convening this hearing and your invitation to testify on this issue. i look forward to answering any questioning you may have. >> thank you, ms. greenberg. dr. atkinson? >> thank you. my clock is not working so i'll look over here for it. >> i'll account for the looking over. >> thank you, chairmanen franken and members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to submit testimony today. i'm president of a think tank focusing on policies to support technological innovation. this proposed legislation addresses two very distinct and unrelated issues. one is commercial use of
geolocation by third parties. the second is the use of that information by individuals, particularly around stalk, since these issues are separate and unrelated, i'll address them separately. the issue of limiting the collection of geolocation by third parties in our view would stifle innovation in an area that is rapidly evolving. we've seen in the last few years tremendous growth in location based services and importantly the u.s. has led in this. the top ten internet companies in the world, eight are american. this is in part because our approach to regulation in this fast-moving digital age has really been to not regulate ahead of time, unlike europe, which is home to none of those ten internet firms, they have embraced the principle to regulate well in advance of any real harms. this principle i believe is important for location bases services especially, in part because there's tremendous innovation happening. and an vegas that will continue
to happen. we'll probably see more innovation in the next five years than in the last. things like in-car navigation, connected devices making up the internet things, facial recognition, these are all interesting and important technologies and unfortunately don't lend themselves to a slower moving regulatory process. i would support what mr. mastria said about industry led self-regulation being a better approach. at least in this initial stage of the technological change and innovation. clearly as we heard from administrator rich, the ftc has already taken actions and in our view has significant ability to take continued actions. we already see self-regulation working. we for example the digital advertising initiative. u but also on the two major platforms, ios and android, consumers have the ability to turn it off and on. secondly, this is an important point, there's basically at this point no evidence or very little evidence of actual harms arising from commercial use.
i'll get to the stalking, but in commercial use, i don't believe there's any evidence of harm. virtually all the concern expressed to date by privacy advocates stems from speculative harms that could happen, but not actually ones that have happened. third, our view is that the -- some of the provisions in the bill, particularly the private right of action, could be stifling of innovation, particularly in the apps space, where the average size of the top 800 apps for android or apple, the average company size is 25 employees. a lot of these companies, if faced with the potential of a $1 million fine for making a small coding mistake or putting something inaccurate on a website i believe would think twice about developing a mobile app. another component that's important is there are many apps that run in the background without the user's knowledge. they're actually very important.
carrier iqs is an example and it enables the system to work effectively. so carriers know when calls are dropped, where they might add capacity. these are apps we want to have running on the phone, because they're acting in the public good. finally, i would argue that some of the notion -- some of the sections dealing with notice can be problematic for companies that have to list every single company they deal business with, could compromise some of their commercial information. moving on to the domestic violence, i commend you on your efforts there. this is really the most important part of the bill. we fully agree with section four, with the criminal penalties. and sections five through ten. but there's a couple of components we would want to provide some suggestions on, as the 24-hour to seven-day notice provision as it's written in the bill now currently applies to all apps, including apps like
the weather channel or google maps on yelp, these are apps where an individual who might put these apps on a phone cannot get access to the geolocation data. that's very different than one of these stalking apps and very different than an app like amber alert gps team which is for parents to put something on their kid's cell phone. so i would urge you to think about confining that 24-7 rule only to apps where the individual can get access to the gps stream and not to have all apps, since the stalker can't use the weather channel to stalk his or her victim. i don't think that really mattered, the point that detective hill made. the issue is regulating the behavior of the app. the app can call itself anything and it would still be subject to this rule if it allowed the data stream to go to an individual.
another component is international access. one of the concerns we have is even if we can shut down these abysmal stalking apps, talkers may be able to get access on overseas websites. so in summary, we think the geolocation offers many opportunities for innovation and i think regulation at this point is premature. but again, i commend you, senator, for your leadership on the criminalization of the stalking apps, which are a serious problem and will help with that. thank you. >> thank you, dr. atkinson. ms. southworth? >> good afternoon, chairman franken and distinguished members.
i'm representing our member, the minnesota coalition for battered women and i work with the arizona coalition against domestic violence and the connecticut coalition. in fact, all 56 coalitions. i founded the safety net technology project in 2002 to support survivors, train police and work with policymakers on thoughtful innovation. we work closely with many technology companies, including verizon, google. we serve on the facebook safety advisory board. since 2002, we have presented over 900 trainings to more than 65,000 practitioners. my colleagues are with me today. and i want to say for the record that we love technology. we affectionately think of ourselves as the geeks of the domestic violent movement. the previous panel covered the statistics at length so i'll skip that. i want to say stalkers use location tracking services and
smartphone applications. phone spy ware is one of the most problematic. location is one of the most dangerous and is currently the loophole. this does not notify the victim that it's been installed. so an abuser can install it without her knowledge and then it's done. a standard feature that spy developers go to great lengths to hide is it's even installed. it doesn't show up in most phones as an installed app. which seems to be going to great length to hide it. these apps are often brazenly marketed to stalkers, sometimes briefly mentioning child safety or employee monitor ing almost as an afterthought or cover story and focusing on the features that will help you spy on your spouse. one of the most disturbing apps that i've seen is called hello spy. it has a long list of stalking features and has a continuous animated image showing a scene
from a movie where a man shoves a woman off the bed backwards head first and loops over and over. and just in the time i was taking those screen shots, i had to witness that about a hundred time to create that poster. on another hello spy web page there's a photo of a man grabbing the woman's arm and she has visible abrasions on her face. next to the photo is a list of features including hello spy, track phone location and in more. many of the apps on the next poster you'll see are developed and advertised directly to stalkers to facilitate crimes. in some cases, gps devices and apps may have aided an offender in locating the victim to commit murder or location tracking was just one piece of an overwhelming list of controlling tactics that preceded a victim's death. for example, in 2009 in seattle, a man used a location service on his wife's phone to track her to a local store. after finding her speaking to a man there, he shot and killed
their five children and them himself. in philadelphia, a man installed a tracking device on his new partner's car. he checked that device 147 times in one night and then he hunted him down using the gps and stabbed him to death. the electronic communications privacy act prohibits the manufacture, possession and advertising intercepting devices. however, it does not cover devices that track location information. many apps on the poster very likely violate that, and i would be happy to send this poster back to give to doj it's important to note that there are apps that only track g.p.s. location and are not clearly prohibited under federal law. unfortunately i'm aware of only one instance where the department of justice indicted a creator of a spyware. it was the creator of lover spy. and he promptly fled the country and is now on fbi's cyber most
wanted list. i would be delighted the demo of hello spy would join this creator and was indicted shortly. so the solution. number one, we need to require consent prior to tracking or sharing information. survivors of abuse must be informed how their location information will be used and shared. this consent process should be prominent, transpart and easy to understand. two, location tracking must be transparent and visible to users. consent is critical but consent alone is insufficient. abusers often install these tracking apps without the knowledge of the victim. relatively simple safeguards can be added. some of those already exist on the technology. if g.p.s. technology is being used legitimately, there is no need for a stealth mode. in fact the representable family safety products are visible. in 2005, the anti-spyware stated
that tracking software done convertly is spying and that was developed by technology companies. this provision, the transparent reminder provision is probably the most important element of the bill behind the criminalization. number three, criminalize the operation sale and marketing of technologies whose primary purpose so to track and facilitate a crime. it is past time. fourth, allow law enforcement to seize the proceeds of those sales. no one should profit from enabling criminal acts and stalking apps are creating crime facility products with abandon. five, allow individuals and enforcement option to a very modest private right of action. the proposed protections for victims will be of little use without effective enforcement mechanisms. and the threshold is quite low. in fact our organization has insurance that could cover the
accidental oversight, not the punitive but obviously it shouldn't cover that if doing it willful with malintent. six, enact parallel state laws. since the overwhelming majority of stalking and domestic violence investigations are completed at the local level, we hope your bill will become a model for state statutes. in conclusion, we support innovation and has seen countless ways technology can increase safety. we are proud of the close working relationship that we have with technology and we thank verizon, facebook, google and so many more for working with us to create and increase victim safety. the location privacy protection act of 2014 will narrowly impact a handful of bad actors. senator franken, thank you for your ongoing efforts to end violence against women. thank you ranking member and the committee for your along support and these important locations
protections for survivors. >> thank you. we're going to have seven-minute rounds for questioning. i'll start. detective hill, your testimony mentioned that you're investigating an attempted murder where the victim was being tracked by a stalking app that advertised itself as a parental monitoring software. i actually saw something like that myself. we had a public hearing two years ago and i read on the website of e-phone tracker, it looked like this, suspect your spouse is cheating? track every text, every call, and every move they make using our easy cell phone spy software. there was a lot of press about that after that hearing. later the same day, we checked the website again. this is what it looked like.
is your child exposed to sexting? and all this stuff about your spouse was gone. is it common for stalking apps to disguise themselves like this, detective hill? >> absolutely. they typically will advertise themselves as being a family tracker or track your employees, they seem more friendly that way. >> a lot of people say why don't you just go after stalking apps? why don't you leave legitimate apps alone? these are two separate issues really. your answer tells me that if we want to stop talking apps, we can't target just apps that label themselves as just stalking apps. we also have to lay down a few basic rules of the road for any app that is collecting your basic -- your location information. >> absolutely. it will just change the title of their app to something else that stalkers will figure out.
>> ms. southworth, we don't want to interfere with legitimate parental monitoring apps but want to block stalking apps pretending to be something they're not. how do you do that? >> legitimate parental monitoring apps, if they follow along with the best practice of the computer based monitoring apps, are visible. with the microsoft family safety product the child knows they're being monitored. from the moment they turn the computer on, they can see there's monitoring going on. there's no problem knowing your device or computer is being monitored. so in fact, the spy ware industry definition says if it's a monitoring product, it's spying if it's not visible to the user, with no exception to child or employee. i understand a child wouldn't need consent, but they would still need notice. >> thank you.
i agree with you that the minder provision is absolutely critical here. dr. atkinson has raised a couple of concerns about the reminder provision. so i want to turn to those. dr. atkinson, in your testimony, you say that reminders might make it harder for parents to keep track of kids because the kids will know they're being tracked. as you just heard, though, we can't limit the reminders only to apps that call themselves stalking apps. a lot of stalking apps pretend to be parental tracking apps. and things like that. i disagree with you that the reminder provision "would be applied too broadly to all using geolocation data." my bill requires it only if an app is running in a way that is imperceptible.
i'm not sure. you seem to miss that, because you cite the passbook app in your testimony for iphone as a legitimate app that, and this is what you say, is arguely imperceptible to the user. i took a look at the home screen on my iphone and there it was. this was not my iphone, but it's second from the left on the top there, and it shows up on your home screen by default. in fact, you can't delete it. every time it gets your location, a little arrow pops up and shoes an arrow next to the 92%. i don't know if you can see this. it's also in your privacy settings under location
services. so the app your testimony says is imperceptible is really easy to perceive, at least to me. any app like passbook would not have to remind their users of anything under my bill. my point is it's not a fluke that it's running transparentally. that's just the industry best practice. so dr. atkinson, isn't it already industry best practice that location apps run in a way that they're transparent to the user? >> so my point with that was twofold. one was, and i may have -- should have made that clear. imperceptible is perhaps a vague standard and perhaps you would
look at a better definition in the bill. imperceptible relateds to the is size of the icon or being able to see in the list. that was one point i was trying to make there. i fully agree with you that -- there are tracking apps, if you will, or apps that report location that do run in the background like carrier iq. those again are not applications that an individual can access. i can't go to the carrier iq website and find out where my phone was. that was the point i was making. i would encourage you to make sure the definition of any of these apps is only for those apps where an individual could put something on the phone and then the individual could get access to that geodata stream. otherwise, there are apps that are sometimes used for system performance where you wouldn't want that to be the case. >> i really don't think carrier iq should be a model here.
in 2011, in fact we had a -- people were outraged when they found out that the software was running in secret and so outraged that sprint, the single biggest user carrier iq, removed the software from 26 million devices. i'm sure that there are isolated case where is the reminder provision might be surperfulous. where it might be difficult but i mean imperceivable when it's on the home page. i don't know exactly -- this just seems very -- by and large ve very straightforward to me. but i've run out of time and i'll go to the ranking member. >> thank you. mr. atkinson, in your testimony you note that there are a number of innovative new products that would believe considered mobile
devices under the legislation. but they're not smartphones. these are like smart shoe apps or watches or other devices that use location data that tell you how many steps you walked that day. but these don't allow notification. there's no interaction with the user. would that stifle innovation in these areas if you have regulations that cover that? >> i think it could. ms. southworth mentioned an app, which is just a gps device. the company i mentioned, the amber alert company, they sell just a pure gps device you can put in your child's backpack to follow them around to make sure you know where they are. there's no real way to do notification on that device. a stalker could put one of those devices in someone's trunk of their car. while i support the notion that we should have notice on those for stalking apps, there are other technologies where you
could not do that. on some of the new things we'll get, how would you do notice on a shoe or a shirt or other things like that? it could be hard to do notice. notice is easier when you're dealing with an actual computer-like device. >> mr. atkinson, following up on that, ms. southworth ended her testimony saying that location privacy protection act will "narrowly impact a handful of bad actors that design or operate products created or sold to facilitate terrifying crimes." is that an accurate description of the legislation that it would simply impact a handful of bad actors? >> certainly some of the components toward the end of the bill would do that, and are needed. but half of the bill is focused on just broad, generalized commercial use of geolocation
data, which has nothing to do with stalking, has no relationship to stalking or identity theft or other problems and the bill would address those issues and in a way that could perhaps limit innovation. >> i certainly agree on the point. like i said, they're a big part of the bill that i support stalking legislation, part of it that i remain concerned about some of the stifling innovation. >> we see that self-regulation has been effective and up to the task to give consumers transparency and control around the -- certainly on the desk top environment and will bring that to the mobile environment. the desk top environment we've been in over three years. later this year we'll be releasing a mobile choice app which has been a work
going on for over a year. the mobile app will be the third step in a four-step process that will actually make the guidance enforceable. >> do you share mr. atkinson's concern that some of these new devices aren't interactive and there's no way for even best practices or businesses to ban together for notification if there's no interaction with the user, does that, in your view, stifle innovation? >> so one of the reasons we think that self-regulation works, and i just want to limit my answer to the scope of the program that i run. one of the reasons we think that innovation is better served by self-regulation is that we can quickly adapt and move to new business models. not that many folks are simply
thinking about apps and precise location data many years ago, but we have not only a set of principles in place and guidance for companies to follow, but we're also putting out tools for consumers to be able to make choices. so that has happened in a fairly quick amount of time. i think if there are challenges in the future around that, self-regulation seems to be a quick way to adapt to those changes. >> in your view, it can be far more nimble than perhaps government regulation in this regard. >> i think that's more eloquently put than i did, yes, thank you. >> ms. greenberg, you state in your testimony if companies affirmatively state in their privacy policies they will collect and without any consent.
they are free to do and the if fcc has little four stop them. but in that scenario, doesn't the consumer have the ability not to use the company's service or the app? >> well, certainly that's true, but there are many, many apps that consumers find very useful and that they need to get from one place to another, and i don't think that should mean that they sacrifice their privacy or their ability to say what are you using this data for? do i have -- don't i have the right to say you need to let me know that this information is being shared, and with whom it is being shared. so i think we can bridge that gap without interfering with company's ability to innovate and some other statements that have been made here. >> mr. atkinson, you mentioned examples of the loved one
locator, project lifesaver if someone has autism or dementia or alzheimer's, family members are able to track and make sure that there is a safe zone that they stay within. there are exceptions in the bill for that, but some concerns have been raised where there are situations where a sibling or a close family friend or others who are not a parent or legal guardian might want to be involved in that. do you want to address that again? or in more detail? >> sure. i think it's important to understand that stalking is not a technological term, it's a behavioral term. tracking is the technological term. i don't believe and nor does the biel that we should ban tracking
applications. there are enormous benefits for people who want to know where their devices are, members are. and we need to make sure that we can go forward with those. what i'm somewhat concerned about, i don't believe that we'll end up with a situation where we can -- i think companies will change their names. they'll just be family trackers. but fundamentally, i don't know how we can solve the problem, because for example, on the notification, any person who installs an app on a phone, on the ios or android, you can turn off notification. you can hope that the person's phone understands that, and that would be part of the education effort, but how do you monitor your phone and look at the apps running list. but there is -- in both of those operating systems, you can just say turn off notification. so i think it is a little more complicated than simply taking a set of apps that are bad actors who use them for bad purposes.
>> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. the emergence exception and public safety exception, they are not limited to parents. just wanted you to know that. let's talk about a couple of things, mr. mastria, both you and dr. atkinson have referred to digital advertising alliances self-regulatory program for mobile marketing as a model program. just so i'm clear, you issued this code in july of 2013, but you're not enforcing it, is that correct? >> the code was issued in july 2013. there had to be several operational steps that have to be put in place before it can become operational. one is that there had to be a
standardized way for companies to display the notice to consumers. that happened in april. and the next step is to have an app so that consumers can express their choices. the next step after the app would be the enforcement would come. once consumers make a choice, we want to make sure that choice is honored and that companies are held to honoring that choice. >> that is monitoring program in theory. >> no the desk top version of this has been around for almost four and a half years. we have a great pedigree to show that in fact we do put the tools on the market that we say we will. >> can i ask, ms. greenberg, about what your opinion is of, you know, what the reality you see as in best practices? >> well, it seems that daa's code is coming late in the game
to us, because industry -- other industry players like ctia and the direct marketing association put codes in place years ago. and so with all due respect to mr. mastria, and we looked at the code and it's full of holes, we would argue that it feels like a pr gesture and maybe driven in fact by the introduction of this legislation. i would also take issue with the idea that self-regulation is working. i think that there's monumental evidence that self-regulation is not working. we've heard witnesses from the gao and the ftc say as much, and "the wall street journal" did an article that you mentioned with 101 apps being tested and 47 of
those disclosed user location to a third party without user consent. so i would say we very much need this bill, because self-regulation is not protecting consumers. >> you know, there is the point that the ranking member made that has there been any evidence of harm? i think that most americans believe in -- that they have some right to privacy. do you think that there is harm that individuals can feel if their privacy is not being protected? >> yes. the notion that there's no real harm from the tracking and using of location data for consumers really strikes in the heart of our notions of consumer protection and the idea that privacy is a bedrock american principle. we know that justices of the supreme court, who i mentioned
have articulated that that is a bedrock right. we see from "the l.a. times" surveys, the fast majority of consumers care about their location data not being shared without their consent and do want to know where that location data is being -- to whom that location data is being shared and for what purpose. i think that flies in the face of what we know about how consumers feel about their privacy. >> dr. atkinson, in an analysis, the quote, the evidence of use of stalking apps by stalkers and harassers is somewhat thin. dr. atkinson, i can understand how an economics think tank might think that. but i'm curious what folks in the field have seen. detective hill, are stalking
apps common or is the absence of their prevalence somewhat thin? >> they're very common. the more exams we've done, the more we do, we're finding more and more that these apps the exist and are on phones. >> ms. southworth? >> a week doesn't go by where our national office, we get calls from survivors every week who are trying to figure out is the gps device on my car, phone, is it a setting, is it an app? we have a lot of work to do. we just don't have enough detective hills out there to send them to. have those phones examined. >> right. that's why we're hoping -- and i think dr. atkinson has stated his general approval of the stalking apps piece of this. i don't want to send that wrong message. just in the execution of it, in terms of giving, how important
is it -- i'll go to you, ms. southworth, that people have a reminder that this is happening and how realistic is that? because dr. atkinson talked about you being able to do that. >> it's vital. behavior is not new, as all the witnesses have said. there's general support around helping victims. the challenge is offenders will do anything they can to control and monitor their victims and back in the day, they would look at the odometer when the victim would go to the store and see if she stopped to pick up a prescription, because that's outside the bounds of what she was allowed to do that day. that just crazy amount of control that offenders do, that happens with some offenders that they will tell the victim i'm putting this stalking app on your phone and tracking you. if she knows it there's when she comes to detective hill to file a report, she can accidently let the battery run dead.
she can leave the phone behind. but if she doesn't know it's on the phone because the offender doesn't tell her, she can't do anything to stay safe. >> before i run out of time, this goes to the resources. someone who feels like they're being tracked, what happens when they go to a police station routinely? >> the agencies don't have the tools to look at it so they say they can't, or they may only have one tool and they look at it and don't see anything and send the victim on their way. which can be very frustrating. >> this is why we need, and the bill does get resources for being able to do exactly what victims need. >> absolutely. >> i'm out of time and we'll go back to the ranking member, if you have anymore questions.
i don't assume that -- i know this is my -- something i've been working on for a long time and you're just the ranking member. >> well, i appreciate that. let me just say like i said, portions of the bill that deal with stalking, i applaud the chairman for his dedication on this and those who testified and groups and organizations that have worked on this for a long time. and i do think we definitely need action in those areas. my concern is just we -- in other areas, the other part of the bill that we don't necessarily stifle innovation that can help with some of these same areas we're talking about. but mr. mastria, i think concerns have been raised about this legislation that might require notice to be provided and consent to be obtained for individuals using a device, but some devices are used not just by one individual, family tablet or gps in a car. is there a concern among some members in your organization
that notification may be given to an individual but not others who have used the same device. is that a concern? >> senator, i can speak to what the program code is. the program says that if you're transferring location information, you have to get consent and you have to get it at the download or uninstalled, some point that's obvious has to be clear and prominent. and meaningful. i would like to answer a point that ms. greenberg made. so thank you for mentioning ctia and daa. they were both participants in the development of our code and our code will be enforceable later on this year. in terms of the pr piece. our program has announced more than 30 public actions against both participants of the daa and nonparticipants alike. that's not pr.
it is not an easy conversation to have with a company that they are somehow noncompliant with our program. but the reality is, but that's the mission we have set out to do. the ftc challenged us to mount a program to deliver transparency, control and accountability. and we do that every single day. that's the program that we have, and we think that it serves industry and consumers well. >> thank you. that was my next question, to describe the program you have within your companies to give some discipline to what you're talking about, and you have referred companies in for investigation. how many did you say? >> there have been 33 public compliance actions. that numbers in the 60 or 70 individual companies that are named in there. and of those, we get compliance from moat of them eventually but
one did get referred to a federal authority. >> thank you. that does it for me, and i really appreciate this hearing and thank you for your testimony, everyone. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i like to thank all the witnesses. very, very quickly, because i don't want to have a long back and forth, but would you like to respond to that, ms. greenberg? again, if you take a long time, i'm fog to go back to -- >> just take a moment to say it isn't that we're arguing with the idea that they may have pursued investigations. it's the code itself this week, that's weak. the way we read the code, an app does not need to get permission if they don't share the data. and they keep it to themselves under the code. if the app does share precise location with a totally different company, they still do not need permission to share it. if they are to go so for any of the following purposes, like market research, so in other words, it's the code itself that's weak. when i described it as full of holes, that's what i was referring to.
>> i'm going back to mr. mastri, just in fairness. >> the code does call for consent when there's a transfer of location information. and the reason we do that is we focus on when information is being transferred to unrelated apps and up related sites. that is the code. >> was her characterization of the code not accurate? >> yes, not accurate. i think that we focus on transfer of information to unrelated apps, unrelated sites and we want to make consumers aware of that. we want to give them control of that. that's the part of the code that's kind of the most -- the essential piece of the daa program. >> we may follow up on this. i don't want to -- i don't want to do whatever it would -- i'd be doing if i did it. so in closing, i want to thank obviously the ranking member, senator flake, thank you.
i want to thank each of the witnesses and every one of you who appeared today and particularly detective hill, who took time out of his job to travel here and to testify to us. we've heard a lot of valuable testimony today. i think my bill is going to protect our privacy without -- i think it would not create difficulties for industry, and i'm going to think about today's testimony and other feedback that we get, and we'll work to address that feedback to make any needed improvements in the bill between now and the time it gets the vote. so i thank all of you, and i mean that sincerely. thank all of you for being here. i think there's one thing that there's no question about, stalking apps must be shut down. it is unacceptable in this day and age companies are making money off of stalking and braisingly marketing themselves to stalkers. it's unacceptable that our laws have loopholes that let them do that.
no matter what we do, no matter what form this bill takes, we have to stop these apps. i think there's agreement here. so we'll hold the record open for one week for submission of questions for the witnesses and other materials. thank you, thank you, thank you again. this hearing is adjourned. >> coming up on c span 3, a discussion about the feature of u.s. troops in afghanistan, followed gi a senate commerce hearing on updating the nation's communications networks and later chelsea clinton talking about the challenges of women today and the importance of female leaders. next, a discussion about the u.s. military presence in afghanistan, including the obama administration's recently announced plan to keep u.s. troops in the region past the 2014 withdrawal date. a former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan and a former defense
department senior adviser are among the speakers. this is from the new america foundation. it's about an hour and a half. >> this is being broadcast live so we're waiting for the right instance to start. okay. well, good morning, everyone. good morning and welcome to new america foundation. my name is omar samad. i'm senior central asia fellow here and former afghan diplomat. we're happy to have you this morning. we're talking about an issue this morning that's not only in the news, has been in the issue for a few more days, and may be
in the news for a few more days depending on the cycles and other events happening. we are going to discuss afghanistan and the u.s. and the relationship between the two and the new announcement made by president obama as of a few days ago, and then the announcement about the post-2014 engagement, engagement in afghanistan was somewhat superseded by the other news that came up, about the swap, the prisoner swap that took place. so we're going to see all of that in the context of bilateral relations and the way forward and we're very happy to have a formidable panel here of individuals who are not only experts but who have worked as practitioners as well to tell us and share it with us their views on this. knowing that there is news from afghanistan that keeps popping
up, as of this morning's news that there was a suicide attack on one of the front runners, dr. an it dual -- abdullah, thankfully it failed, but left several civilians dead and many injured. so i would like to start by introducing our panelests first, then we will have each one of them give their presentation for a few minutes. after which, we will have an opportunity to have a little discussion amongst ourselves, if anyone needs -- feels the need to do so, before we turn it over to you and for questions and answers. please turn off your cell phones if you haven't already, and this is webcast live by new america and also by c span 1, i believe.
so everything that you say is on the record. let me start here. on the right, with crisco len -- chris kolenda, he is a new senior fellow at the center for new america security in washington. until just a few days ago, you were just telling me, he served as a senior adviser on afghanistan and pakistan to the department of defense and the department of defense senior leadership, and he has had four tours in afghanistan, if i'm not mistaken. he's the editor and co-author of a book called "leadership," the warriors art," which has appeared on the professional reading list. he also has a book, the counterinsurgency challenge which some of you may have heard
about. then we have clare lockhart. many of you who are familiar with clare who has dealt with afghanistan issues for many years. she is currently the director and co-founder of the institute for state effectiveness which also works to support the emergence of the central government functions in ways that are transparent and accountable. she's also the director of the aspen institute which works to create opportunities and create jobs. she coauthored this well-known book, fixing failed states, a framework for rebuilding a fractured world with one of the two leading presidential contenders and has written numerous articles on various issues dealing with development, economics, law, and others.
last but not least, ambassador ronald new neumann who is currently the president of american academy of diplomacy. formerly was a former deputy secretary of state. then as the u.s. embassy's principal liaison with the multinational command. an important job. he is also the author of the other war, winning and losing in afghanistan. he visits afghanistan regularly, knows all the players and has been a follower of the issue for many years as was his father, former ambassador robert neumann
who served in afghanistan in 1960s 70s, so with that, i would like to start with chris. chris, with your experience dealing with the dod and on security issues and with the recent announcement by president obama that the u.s. post 2014 has a two-year plan that calls for 9,800 forces, a mixture of trainers, educators, and maybe anti-terrorism forces, that will be joined by some nato forces, and whose job is to help the afghans and also do some counterterrorism work. tell us if in your view this new policy is a solid one, doable, and what do you think will be
the end result by the end of 2016. >> thank you very much for your kind introduction and question and i also want to thank the new america foundation and my colleagues whom i've known for several years, clare and lockhart and ron neumann. today is the 70th anniversary of d-day and yeah, we remember the d-day veterans today and what they sacrificed, and what they did to make that effort, you know, that fight for freedom a success, and an interesting question is how will -- how will we, how will the afghan government, how will all of the actors in this particular conflict be remembered 70 years later. did we do everything reasonably possible on all sides of this conflict for a successful and a peaceful outcome? i think it will be a very interesting question for us. as we reflect on d-day today.
certainly the 2009 diplomatic, political and military surge provided an opportunity for successful outcome in afghanistan and i think there is a reasonable chance of success in afghanistan. i would say that with respect to to your question, the troop decision, i would give it two cheers. i'm not sure yet. time will tell whether it deserves three cheers or not. on the positive side of the ledger, it does buy time and space for the afghans -- afghan national security force maturity model to continue to grow and develop, but the security efforts are necessary but they are not sufficient for success, and the security efforts alone will eventually run into a glass ceiling of political dysfunction, violent contest for power and external and regional either neglect or malignant
activity that will undermine prospects for success. the political efforts have to come on line and have to work in concert toward a sustainable solution in afghanistan. the taliban are unlikely to overthrow the afghan government any time soon militarily. they are not strong enough. the afghan government is unlikely to force the taliban to surrender any time within the next couple of years. so quite frankly the biggest threats to the afghan government and the stability to afghanistan in the near tarym are probably not the taliban but more likely a political or fiscal crisis that unravels the government and plunges afghanistan into chaos. there is serious concern without needed emphasis on the political and diplomatic lines of effort that we've sort of postponed the
day of reckoning, you get a new perfect storm as troops withdrawal down to zero and potential donor fatigue kicks in where donors are unwilling to bank roll of what they may see as a conflict without end in afghanistan. that's the very difficult scenario i think coming forward. and certainly in that sort of -- that sort of downside scenario, al qaeda is the biggest winner in it. al qaeda is the winner in a perpetual conflict scenario, it allows them time and space to be able to come back into afghanistan and come back into sanctuary, and quite frankly al qaeda's biggest nightmare is a taliban that distances itself from al qaeda. i think the key counterterrorism strategy is, as you asked, is
certainly pressure on the networks through, you know, through the -- all of the, you know, kinetic efforts so to speak as well as the intelligence efforts but the political and diplomatic efforts are going to be the decisive ones in preventing al qaeda from coming back into afghanistan. so afghanistan right now, it's sort or the of the prisoners dilemma, where they recognize the efforts of peace and stability, but they don't trust each other. you get this sort of status quo that if not broken on the political and diplomatic side could lead to the downside as i mentioned. i said success is entirely possible. i absolutely believe that. i think there are five keys to a successful outcome that have come to fruition, will lead to a peaceful and stable afghanistan
long term. the first one is the afghan national security force battlefield performance. there's no good solution in afghanistan, no positive outcome without the afghan national security forces being strong, confident, capable, and able to preserve the gains that have been made over the last 13 years. and there are also battlefield performance is critical in convincing the taliban that military victory by them is unlikely and in order to avoid perpetual conflict they are going to have to come into a peace process so the ansf provides -- afghan national security forces can provide the political and diplomatic space for a successful outcome. second is the political transition which you mentioned. the political transition has three components. the first one is the election. we're going to have a second round here in just over a week that will determine the presidency. the second part of the political
transition after the election will be the peaceful transfer of power. the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in afghan history which i think is an extraordinary achievement and extraordinary credit quite frankly to president car -- karzai to the afghan people. and third the economic reforms that pill wut afghanistan on a better trajectory. will the next afghan president have the will to do that i think is an important question. the third key to success is regional diplomacy, to come together to assist in cooperation, creating incentives for stability. that is going to have to happen. regional actors and international actors are going to have to place stability in afghanistan a higher priority
than some of their interests and priorities that may be trending toward instability. number four is a peace process and i think there has to be progress toward a peace process in the 2015-2016 process, which enable -- stability in afghanistan is sort of a manageable risk rather than an uncertain gamble. after 35-plus years of conflict and all the afghan people have gone through, peace process is very difficult to imagine, very emotional. we've just gone through in the u.s. this controversy over the bergdahl, you know, bowe bergdahl prisoner exchange and all the anxiety that occurred in america. magnify that many times over and you can maybe get a sense of
anxieties and the emotions that go with a peace process or a potential peace process in afghanistan. you know, after, you know, a taliban regime, you know, that was cruel, misoginistic, that will be tremendously difficult, but, you know, very necessary for afghans to come together and determine a peaceful political future and only afghans can do that. and then finally the economic -- progress toward greater economic self-reliance, right now afghanistan relies on an extraordinary amount of investment from the international community. that will require infrastructure development, economic development, as well as ideally
the conditions under which defense spending can, you know, can reduce substantially. i would say finally afghanistan has a real opportunity to succeed. i was just in afghanistan a couple of weeks ago and i was visiting an adult women's literacy center and 18 to 25-year-old women who would never had the opportunity under the taliban to finish high school but there they were and all of them have been affected by this conflict. they have lost loved ones, refugees. they know people who have been wounded and kill and they are all in class and they want to complete their education. their teachers haven't been paid, they are in broken desks, but all of them are passionate about what they are doing and their dreams and aspirations, i want to be an engineer, into be a doctor, i want to be a lawyer, and when -- i want to be a teacher, and you look at all of those, when you put all of those
together, for them, those dreams and aspirations are not about making money, but it was about fixing what they think -- what they perceive to be the ills of afghan society. so i certainly hope for their case and the case of the afghan people that we collectively, afghan's international community alike will do what is necessary for a successful and stable outcome in afghanistan and 70 years hence, we will be remembered positively for that. >> thank you, chris. clare, given the new timetable announcement by president obama, and also a timetable expected by nato soon, and given the numbers and given the resources per, let's say, chicago and per tokyo, two international conferences that came up with
some figures on what it might cost to support afghanistan beyond 2014, you -- not only as an expert in state building, but also i might say even as a member of this organization which is co-sponsoring this event as well, the alliance in support of the afghan people -- when you go to policy makers, when you go to legislaturers today, what would you tell them in terms of what chris said, what defines success and what defines failure, what would you tell them today given the new timetable, given the new conditions, and given what is happening in afghanistan and what the u.s. has done and will be doing? >> certainly. i think chris has described the factors that will contribute to success extremely well. as we know many of the headlines
in the media focus on the risks and threats and the negative, i think that that's obscured a picture of real hope and possibility and opportunity and most of all because there's a new generation who i think all of you know welcoming of age who want nothing more than peace and stability and are putting themselves at the forefront of the change and taking enormous risk themselves to see it become real. yes, i'm a member of of an organization which is devoted to this mission to rebalance the narrative and come up with a much more nuanced understanding. and try promote a more balanced understanding of what's happening. now, i would very much agree actually that the priority for many, if not most afghan citizens is security. i remember very early in my time in afghanistan somebody said look if i can't walk to buy bread at the end of the street, if the female members of my
family can't go to their jobs and if i can't walk my children to school, none of these things, economic opportunity, food, even food, and education matter if the basic security isn't there. he said if i'm aprayed of being shot in the back of the head, none of the rest of it matters. i think this is something left-right consensus even in this country, security is a good, not a bad. security matters. and now that the timetable is faster than some had understood or perhaps hope, this is going to put more imperative on the nsf and their performance, the promises that were made at lisbon and chicago for support for the ansf for the years to come becomes absolutely foundational. having said that, if you support a security force alone, that can
lead to other sorts of problems. it cannot be created by suppression. so this does put pressure on the other elements, the ones that chris has outlined, the diplomatic, the economic, the state building, the political functions. and in that area, i think this is really actually for afghans to define and afghans to determine. we hear a lot about afghan sovereignty. the afghans have both the right but also the responsibility to lead their country, and i think that perhaps -- as there will be a new president in place in the coming months, and it's going to be for that that president and their government to determine the right mix of policies that will lead to stability in the political and economic and governance spheres, but that said international assistance is going to continue to be important as a bridge to that time in the future when the country can raise its own revenue.
so i've spent a little bit of time reflecting on what i think is important here. i think there are four factors and perhaps the most important is actually the economic one. it's the one that gets short shrift. there's a lot of focus on security and transition to a new government, but the one that doesn't get as much focus is the economic condition and the sooner that afghanistan can raise its own revenue to meet its own costs of security and governance and social programs, the sooner that international taxpayers won't be call upon to meet that fiscal gap. as we know, there's been an economy that's been heavily based on aid as well as illicit economy, particularly narcotics over the last decade and the questions of transition from an aid-based economy to a productive economy is absolutely essential. afghanistan does have tremendous potential. it is landlocked. that puts it at something of a
disadvantage but the assets that it has in terms of this very capable young generation, young population, know the minerals are not a magic bullet, know they are not going to providing the revenue in two or three years, particularly in the oil and gas finds, other countries in the rooj are interested in buying that but there's also a domestic market within afghanistan. one of the most critical constraints to people's lives is the power situation, but afghanistan has the gas that can provide the power. so the question of how does afghanistan increase its revenue tremendously important? it has the assets. it has the capabilities. there's also a lot of revenue in the country that isn't being captured to continuing to work on reform of customs, like with its neighbor pakistan which has one of the lowest tax collection
rates in the world, afghanistan actually has a higher percent amg but continuing to work in closing that revenue gap essential and of course as we hear from afghan citizens across the country, beyond security what do this they want is job? what are going to be the engines of job creation? it's going to be ago gri culture. secondary is the viability of the state, beyond the security function. the afghan government has two national security programs, there needs to be some sort of a sense of prioritization, what are the five or six key functions. as we look at the perspective of a citizen of a rural area it's the very basic services anywhere in the world, basic education, basic health care, some electricity, access rural roads, and water sanitation so really focusing on the things that matter to citizens i think is
going to be important. next area is keeping open the space for civil societies. so the work on human rights, on democracy, on women's rights, absolutely foundational and when we we look as what has really worked, the shift in attitudes the space for the young generation, keeping vigilant, not letting that space close, but the support, back breaking work is internally, it's the young people who lead organizations in the country that's the most important and sometimes it's just moral support rather than financial support that they ask for, and then the final area, this question of regional cooperation and some of that regional cooperation is on security and political issues but tremendous opportunities in the economic area. there's been a lot of work done on this recently, the administration has worked on the launch of the silk road. really important work. energy, a lot of work has been on trade and transportation but the question of energy, the
access of south asia to the gas and the hydroelectric power in central asia that can help solve south asia's energy problems. after france and germany cooperated on coal and steel, what's the coal and steel of the region? it's the next president to form the policies in these areas and the worst that international partners can do is to prejudge that. they will need time and space to formulate them. there will be differences. whoever wins the presidency, what types of policies and management capabilities they will bring to bear but very important in coming back to your question, what to tell -- when one would say to decision makers and legislation ters in this gas, just tremendously important that afghanistan can work but maintaining the right commitment, certainly in the security area, but in the nonsecurity areas, to bridge
that fiscal gap and provide the type of support that the afghans truly want and need, and we hear from others from all the things that don't work, there are cases of waste and fraud and inefficiency but this has obscured the picture of what has worked. my colleagues are undertaking a study at the moment to take a look what does work and why. there are a number of things that have worked and it's i am pirtive to learn what is worked. that the support could be priority sized for the right areas and i think in essence, the afghan reconstruction trust fund, maintaining that budget support so salaries get paid and operations and maintenance have been provided, so all things that have been built over the last decade. also the larm scale programs
have fairly low overheads, but reach millions of people. the national health program, and there are a few other programs like that that have the track record, have been evaluated as working very well, and i think are worth maintaining a commitment to. >> thank you, clare. ron, we've covered a lot of ground between clare and chris, but not enough probably on the diplomatic side, and on the regional and strategic side. so as a ex-diplomat, u.s. diplomat in western afghanistan and troubled regions, with this noux, the recent announcement, what do you think is the message that is being conveyed or how is it perceived by countries in the region and beyondannouncement,
announcement, what do you think is the message that is being conveyed or how is it perceived by countries in the region and beyond and to what extent do you think this is going to make a difference in their calculation on afghanistan, so on and soing for, knowing that afghanistan is situated in a pretty pivotal part of the world. >> well, chris gave the policy two years, i think i would give it one cheer and one groan because the policy is in fact contradick tory and that sends a contradict tory message to afghans and its people. afghanistan is a really complex situation. it's a place that has so many moving pieces, if you have a really strong view, you can always find the places that support your view. if you have a view that's completely opposite, you can do exactly the same thing, but it is occasionally useful to focus on some of the big picture things. when you look at the election,
which first was secured by afghan forces for 100,000 less foreign troops than there were in afghanistan at the last election. that is a success. it's not the end. it doesn't prove all will be well, but it's a success. the election was not just better than the last election. think about the region in which this is taking place. pakistan has a recent election and elects a civilian government that is denied power by the military. you can fairly say in that region that from the northern border of india to the western border of russia, this is the most democratic spot in the region. now you can get a little carried away with that, i agree, but it's still an important realization when you think of where afghanistan is situated. peaceful. to come to our policy, it is
contradick tory, the decision on troops for the next year, i believe, is a good decision. the rapid reduction in half, means people are going to deploy to new locations with a view to how quickly they have to redeploy to someplace else and the fact that you put such hard time limits on sends a contradick tory message that questions whether performance matters because you are going to leave anyway. that message is contradict tory and it believes the picture cloudy for the afghans. there's another piece to the decision as well as the timeline, that is the decision to fold everything under the embassy by the third year. i believe that is clearly a mistake. that was a model which was used in iraq. it did not work well in iraq. my colleague jim jeffrey who was ambassador there can wax quite
eloquent on why it did not work. it's not that it kpt work in theory. it is that it allows all sorts of bureaucratic stove pipes and habits in the u.s. government to snap back into place when you don't have a military presence as a central organizing force. and frankly, it's also a bit of a shell game because you can have a very large military presence under an embassy direction as we have say in saudi arabia where you have a two-star general in command of a military training mission and then a very large contractor presence with the saudi arabia national guard. it is a shell game but it is also one which plays to a model which has not work well in the past. if that model is going to work this time, then there needs to be some detailed examination of why it did not work well in iraq and what we're going to do to fix the things that didn't work and i know of no such planning at the moment.
we have two years. somebody could actually get serious and do it, but it's not happening at the moment. that said, there is time for the after gans. there is time to build on the success they have had. and as clare said keeping up the support is going to be hugely important. that's going to be harder when you don't have a u.s. military presence because that galvanizes congressional support but it can be done. so i think there's another piece of this, although we're talking today to a u.s. audience, and that is the responsibility that's going to have to be carried by the afghan government and people in a very difficult time and notwithstanding a difficult message. we have to manage our own expectations. the next afghan government is going to be a coalition, it's going to take power with a very diverse body of supporters.
it doesn't mean you are going to get everything cleaned up quickly. in fact, it's unreasonable to ask that and if you expect that, you are setting yourself up for failure, but at the same time the next afghan government has to begin to take on the task of more efficient government and better government, one that is seen by its own people as being less rapacious and therefore more able to rally support. it's going to have to do enough of that to justify support of its people and it's going to have to do enough of that that it continues to build a lesson for us, for the congress and for other foreign don'ters that this project is worthy of support because it can continue. it's just not milking the foreigners, i thil that will be particularly important for the army. it's not just promotion for merit and removing corruption. it is getting out those who are
particularly inefficient but politically connected because changing that becomes a major piece of maintaining the loyalty of the force or risking the coup because of the loss of loyalty of the force. so the next afghan government has to play a major role in its own salvation. scan -- this would seem to be obvious but it's not because afghans have lived for so many years in a world that is continually overturned by what foreigners do so there is a tendency instead of looking to what i want to do, this american tendency is to say what is your vision, the afghan tendency is what's the vision of the big foreigners because my vision is not going to matter very much if i don't know that. so this means that at a time when afghans need to understand their own responsibility, because they can really effect
our policy, they can effect what the congress and the american people two years from now will be willing to do or what our next administration will do, but this is a hard realization for afghans themselves because of the context out of which they come, and it is a hard realization when the american administration sends a mixed message that is very difficult to decipher, but it is still going to be one. most important pieces, one hand that we are willing to continue to support progress and that we're willing to recognize if there's a degree of success and on the other hand an afghan willness to play for a somewhat longer tour. to step up to their own responsibilities for effectiveness and improvement without having excessive expectations of how fast that can go. >> good, thank you so much. i would like to ask all three of
you a question that comes up occasionally, but doesn't have a very precise answer because it's a complex sort of question. depending on how you conduct polls and how you pose questions, depending on how you interpret answers, why is it the u.s. public and even to some extent, some people in congress, do not fully grasp what has and is happening in afghanistan and what has and what is the u.s. doing in afghanistan. can you each one give me a short answer that might help us -- >> we'll each give you long answers. >> make it somewhat short. >> i'll start, one. >> there's several different reasons. first, afghanistan is just enormously complex. people want a short strategic
answer and province to province, sometimes district to district, things are enormously difficult and different, in fact they resist that kind of simplification. secondly the u.s. government has done an absolutely rotten job of providing a steady measure of reporting. we have done spin as opposed to fa fact. that makes people subject -- first, it just builds on the cynicism that has been there since vietnam but secondly it also makes people revert back to anecdotal news reporting for a basis of understanding. first of all, with news, if it bleeds, it leads, so their tendency is to the bad reporting and secondly, every country reports primarily on the areas where their troops are involved. the german press will report
almost exclusively on northern afghanistan. the spanish and italian will focus on the west, the british focus only on heldman. the american press focuses on where our troops are. so you have lousy american reporting, complex situation, fragmentary press and then you've been at it a long time and people are tired. you put those things together and you get a public perception that nothing is working. there is one more fact -- i went to high school in a school that had a problem with gangs. by the time i was in high school, the gangs had been cleaned up but i noticed that nobody understood that and it occurred something to me repeatedly in life, that reputation follows fact, where there's a lag of a couple of years or more and i think you have that in afghanistan too. so you had a picture that was very -- we were almost losing the war in 2009.
can dal har was very close to falling, whether the taliban could have held it or not, the country was in terrible shape and it took a long time to put the troops in, big battles, so reputation and fact trail way behind changes, and also good news isn't interesting. last year, there were huge numbers of stories when the marine went in. no afghans, terrible fighting. i was back there last year. there were 25,000 troops, people are talking about business, and find a press story about that, so the reputation lingers because nobody reports on change either. clare, given the time lines that we have, how do you resolve this? what do you do? >> i agree very much -- >> how do you fix it? >> i agree very much with the ambassador's analysis. i think for the first few years
after 9/11, there was an attitude in the media that everything was wonderful and was great success of elections and so on. and then the pendulum swung the other way. nothing works. the afghans don't work, very unbalanced picture and i've actually been talking to some of the editors of newspapers and channels about this, and saying, look, you are only reporting on the negative. okay, we agree. let's work on this. but they admit it's very hard because the defense editors and the foreign editors will report on the bombs and the corruption and the negative, and not so interested in you have to get it into the business pages of the minerals and the other stories. the guys who run a motorcycle factory in iraq who were running
espionage in china. i spoke to one of the journalist, he said look, i can't find a single project that worked. i think he probably could if he looked a bit further but yet the country has been transformed because he's been back to those part of the countries, it did work, the country has transformed. we have not told the story. i think we do need to sit down with editors and leaders in the journalism world and think about -- i think we have a serious structural problem here and it does need to be addressed. and part of it as you say is the political leadership, to tell the story to level properly with the american people that there is a different story here but i do think that the media does also have a responsibility to find ways to present a more balanced picture. >> chris, aside from the media, and others in government role, let's take the flipside of the
taliban. very unsavory group of people back in the 1990s and now the video that came out about the prisoner exchange or at least the release of bergdahl is going viral, and giving an impression, creating an impression. you were in the defense department. how do you manage this? >> well, first of all, i would like to echo ron neumann and clare said about the narrative. it is hard to boil afghanistan down to, you know, bullet points or, you know, talking points that are easily sort of painting, you know, a sort of simple narrative or a simple solution set. it just doesn't lend itself to
that, and it is an extraordinarily complex environment when you have 35-plus years of conflict and whether it's the -- whether it was the war against the soviets or the civil war, then the taliban, and now the last 13 years, it has created a degree of complexity. it's really hard for people to understand. i've been dealing with afghanistan for seven consecutive years now and every time i go back to afghanistan, you realize how much you truly just do not understand. and when you look at the taliban, it's -- it's interesting on the one hand, you know, there's -- this is part of the kplext, yeah, i mentioned the abhorrent nature of their rule. i've been fire fights with the taliban. i've certainly -- i have six good soldiers of mine were kill
by the taliban and over 50 wounded. so there's a lot of scar tissue there. by the same tone, you look at statements. they are trying to portray themselves a taliban 2.0, we're not like the people that ruled in the 1990s and they are starting to socialize messages about peace and about, you know, anti-corruption, about women's education and those sort of things. all very much designed, first of all, to appeal to the international community, and second of all, there's a recognition they can't turn back the clock and they have got to more in step with the afghan poem if they are ever going to try to gain any sort of support. now whether any of these mexings are credible or there is just pure cynicism for public consumption, we don't know.
it's hard to tell and we won't know until it's tested over time. but adds to the complexity of this, the taliban is not the same as al qaeda. the al qaeda is an international terrorist group bent on the destruction of america and the west. the afghan taliban had an ininjure -- insurgent group. two powerful organizations that ten to get couldn't flatd together. >> some people may argue with that. any points you would like to raise with each other before we go to the public, even though you all seem to be somewhat on the positive side, and and even more so than i am, as an afghan, but i think it's very good. i think it's very -- i think it's good to hear from people who follow the issue and know
what the issues are. as an afghan, i think that you reflect to a large extent the feelings and thoughts that exist in afghanistan. so it's not just afghans talking amongst each other and wondering why the u.s. is not getting it or why is it that they don't see that the glass is half full for example or life has changed for the better in afghanistan. so i think that those of us who have a greater affinity to this cause and to this issue, we sometimes are confused and i think that afghanistan and its people are going to hrough a a little bit of a confusion state right now it's important to bring some clarity to all of this. so having said this, i'm going to turn to our audience here, and ask people to please raise their hands, be recognized,
introduce themselves, and pause and ask a question, even though everybody may have a lot to say or remarks to make, but please ask questions as succinctly as possible. please wait for the microphone so we can capture everything. >> hi. i have a question about the prisoner exchange. i think i -- when i watched president obama's speech and then following that the prisoner exchange, i was hoping that after the elections in afghanistan, it was a great success, it was a great turnout. it was actually a message from the people of afghanistan that we are embracing democracy and it was a message that we don't want the taliban kind of government, and then i was hoping that our president would
really encourage that message and say the government was going to stand by these values, the progress that afghan people have made. i work for a women's organization. we have put our the frontline. 600 afghans in my organization are working on the ground every day and their life is in danger. and they keep going. this would be encouraged and i would know that the united and international community would standby us. though when i heard the message that afghanistan will never be a perfect place and it's not america's responsibility to make it one, it was a great disappointment for me, for the young afghan generation, for the women who have been fighting so hard, and the president is not here. ly i will ask you what is our president thinking saying that. with the prisoner exchange, following that, we have five top
taliban. some very well connected with al qaeda are exchanged. they are in ka tar. the plan to close down guantanamo bay eventually. what will happen to the prisoners there. we killed bin laden. are we releasing 5, 10, 20 to return back to afghanistan. our lives are in danger. >> let me address the first part to you, chris, because you just left -- >> that's right. >> please tell us, you know, the worry that exists within the afghan society, with women. is this sending the wrong message for the afghans or has
it been misrepresented or misread? and then i'll turn to you, ron, about the second part in the peace process and what can you tell us about whether the release of five well-known taliban is going to hinder or help the process. >> this entire event has generated so much anxiety and emotion on both sides of the ledger, and, you know, i think the -- in the big picture. the narrative that say, you know, the message that says, you know, we are committed to a successful afghanistan. we are committed to supporting the afghans in a, you know, peaceful, stable, prosperous future is -- that's one narrative. a very different narrative is we're committed to getting out of afghanistan.
one narrative, i think, inspires a sense of commitment and a sense of confidence on the part of the people. the other narrative, you know, invokes fears of 1989 and abandonment. an so that's, quite frankly, that's problematic. i think has increased the anxiety of afghans who, you know, have been through 35 years of conflict. i don't think, you know, want to, you know, want to see afghanistan go, you know, into chaos again. and want to see the gains preserved and want to see, you know, these opportunities particularly for afghan women and afghan children be sustained. so i think the, you know, the narrative on this is challenging. i'm not sure that the narrative on the, you know, this recent, you know, prisoner exchange is something that is going to be embraced as a model for the future in terms of how you
describe things and set conditions for them. i think there are a lot of lessons to be learn on the administration's side on that. and it's, you know, there's no good solution to, how do i get -- how i do get this individual back. there's a variety of solutions. least bad alternatives, and, you know, this was never going to be, i think, unless he was simply escaped or handed over, you know, this was just going to be a very difficult issue anyway. the prisoner exchange is going to be difficult anyway. >> ron, on the peace front? >> well, i don't think this release is going to have any particular bearing on the peace process. there was a point a year or more ago, as chris knows, when the prisoner exchange was to have been a precursor to a talk.
that point has passed. it may come back again but it's not geared to the prisoners. if there's any message in the prisoner exchange, it suggests americans are cleaning up the battle field they leave. it's not one i see sending any particular plus or minus. whether any of the individuals have a particular -- we don't know. but i don't see anything particular in this that is going to advance the peace process. i think it is sad that the media focus has been so much on the incident and so little on the success of the election and the fact that afghanistan still has a second round of elections to go. there's a huge story for the future of afghanistan in the second round of the election, and the security that will or will not obtain. that story is being largely ignored in the feeding frenzy
over sergeant bergdahl. i'm going to talk about that in a second. i know, we're going get a question. i'm going get it out. it's not a story that covered any of the participants with great glory. yes, there is a principle of bringing back our people, you know. i can remember helicopters flying into hot lz to take out bodies on the same principle in a slightly older war that i was a part of. the principle is not an end of the discussion. it's a beginning of a discussion about how much risk you take in order to bring about the result. how you mitigate the risk. part of mitigating the risk is what conditions you have, in this case, for holding these people. the white house has not been prepared to speak about that on the record. it leaves one slightly uncomfortable with how firm the
conditions are. second issue is how much danger the people pose. there i would say the media has not covered itself with glory either. there's a good report from the afghan analyst network that tells you you do not have five leading taliban war leaders. you have at least two that were purely administrative. one -- neither one of them terribly high. one person who was a mid-level intelligence commander, and two who were combatants one at the mid level. only one of whom is a senior. he has a potential for war crimes issues. which the media is paying no attention to at all. the portrayal of the people is generally messed up, and that suggests, also, the hyperventilation of the critics is obsessive to the issue.
you have an individual and a price paid for the release do not merit the self-congratulation which has been in evidence. you have a threat, which is probably not terribly large but which we don't entirely understand, and you have a criticism which seems to get ahead of the facts. i don't find much glory in any of that. >> why don't we come back to that. >> a couple of comments. i think one very much to agree with you. i think this idea that afghanistan -- some people are trying to make it to a perfect place. nobody ever suggested that, and i don't think everything should prevent the citizens for afghanistan to create the kind of afghanistan they want. we all know that the kind of transformation that countries do undertake does take 20 to 30 years. i think people are realistic about that. but the end goal is for afghans to determine. on the political process, i
mean, i think this is from a comparative perspective. i see it as we look at different peace deals and processes around the world. one danger they fall into is 20 guys around the table and a deal and the hollywood and end and peace is going to break out. i think come back to the theme we have been addressing that there's a lot more complexity really warrants a sort of look again. suddenly the popular understanding how peace and every afghan i've spoken to understands that complexity. but not always the media. there's a paper, "national dialogue." that a number of afghan leaders are discussing. it's available on the website and elsewhere. many leaders have been talking about it to look at the different parts of the process. to look at the peace process rather than necessarily a peace deal with different elements to this. of course, one is how afghanistan and pakistan reach a way, at least, of coexistence.
some people have been talking about them ultimately having a special relationship. as a part of the peace process that is the most important, that's probably it. then there's a question of many parts and groups within the country feeling excluded from power or badly treated. and the question of how does one address those grievances. those are people in many different part of the country. how are the grievance s addressed? another part is rather than looking at good guys and bad guys understanding that, you know, over the last 30 plus years of conflict there have been many actions taken that, you know, some people would say war crimes and the question of how the country deals with reck sell yags in a broader sense. how does the country come to terms with the past and agree to move forward, i think, is something that still to be worked out. understanding it's about different groups within the country and how do they agree to govern together in the same entity. i think, and i think it looks like from each of the